Dhoni wins it with a six
1983. The top edge swirled high above him, teasing Kapil Dev as he chased after it. Head craning up, legs pumping and arms reaching for a catch that would become a lodestone in Indian cricket folklore. It took 28 years to summon another moment that could match its impact. An India captain was at the epicentre again, twirling his bat casually after he creamed a six to win the Word Cup.
That shot would become the cornerstone of MS Dhoni's legend. It also became a signal of India's new identity - a team that believed they were more than a match for any opposition. Dhoni's innings was an emphatic advertisement. He had been struggling for form and his team had made a poor start, but none of that mattered as he promoted himself to No. 5 and cut, sliced, slapped and helicoptered 91 off 79 balls. The nation erupted. Kapil was moved to tears on live television.
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For 22 of those years, Indian cricket had turned to one man for… everything. Sachin Tendulkar would have known this was the last chance he would have to claim the one title he craved, especially after the sting of 2007, when India were booted out after the first round. "The next World Cup [final] is in Mumbai and this is where I would want the trophy," Tendulkar had said. He had racked up international century numbers 98 and 99 but neither was in a winning cause. He might have braced for heartbreak after being dismissed for 18. But by the end of the night, he was hoisted on the shoulders of his team-mates, whirling the national flag above his head. Finally, he was a World Cup champion.